EXCLUSIVE: Buoyed by his latest film’s strong platform opening numbers, The Spectacular Now producer/financier Andrew Lauren has just closed a deal for film rights to The Carrion Birds, the novel by The Terror Of Living author Urban Waite. Lauren will produce through his Gotham-based Andrew Lauren Productions shingle. Set in a Southwestern border town, the book tells a contemporary Western story about a killer ready to put down his guns and reconnect with his young teenage son for a life far from the bloodshed. When a final job of stealing a rival’s stash goes wrong near the Mexico border, it puts the killer in the crosshairs of his morally conflicted cousin and a new female sheriff. ALP exec Dave Platt brought in the book and David Boyle made the deal with Joel Gotler repping Sobel Weber Associates Inc. Lauren, the son of fashion icon Ralph Lauren, previously exec produced Noah Baumbach’s The Squid And The Whale.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Canyons’, ‘The Spectacular Now’, ‘When Comedy Went To School’, ‘Our Children’, ‘The Artist And The Model’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Paul Schrader‘s The Canyons is probably the most talked about film this year that relatively very few people have ever seen. There is some irony here given that the film uses the movie biz as a backdrop, but everything gets ensnared by a soap opera played out by the rich and beautiful, sound familiar? After its world premiere earlier this week in New York, the film is heading out to one big screen location before going to select runs elsewhere, but the film is most likely to be seen in a post-exhibitor world much like the filmmaker expects. Sundance 2013 comedy-drama The Spectacular Now culminates its long lead-up to release this weekend with a film that made it there through the steadfast will of its producers. Stand-up comedy makes its return to the big screen with When Comedy Went To School, a historical look look-back at the art. But unlike its “filthier” cousin, The Aristocrats, which came out in 2005 via now defunct ThinkFilm (and with big b.o. success), this one has a decidedly different angle. And French-language title Our Children joins the Specialty newcomers this weekend with a praised but dark drama along with The Artist And The Model set in the south of France.
Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Gerard Funk, Amanda Brooks, Tenille Houston, Gus Van Sant
Distributor: IFC Films
Before the likes of Zach Braff and Spike Lee turned to Kickstarter, veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader launched a campaign on the crowd sourcing site for The Canyons after kicking in some of his own cash. It raised $160K for the project (the entire film is believed to cost around $250K), which seemed to almost instantly fascinate the media sphere from the New York Times (magazine) all the way through to the blogosphere both because of star Lindsay Lohan and her male counterpart, porn star James Deen. “We knew all along there would be a polarizing effect because of the sheer nature of Lindsay’s celebrity,” noted IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring.
Anyone who predicts sleeper hits ahead of the summer is either very brave or very spun. But these are the pics expected to emerge through the cracks of tentpole action: All benefit from obvious counterprogramming, festival hype, and demo-targeted storytelling. In chronological order:
– IFC’s Frances Ha has high awareness among its targeted younger-skewing arthouse crowd and exhibitors. “It’s certainly getting talked about in the right places for the audience they’re going for,” one NATO member tells me. Star Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach are indie darlings and scored a talked-about New Yorker piece last week that boosted their profile as a filmmaking couple. According to an IFC Films rep, it’s the sleeper they’re banking on when it releases May 17. “We think we’re going to get great word of mouth,” they tell me.
– CBS Films has two indie pickups budgeted at under $2M each that they’ve slotted into the summer. Sundance pickup Kings Of Summer (formerly Toy’s House) stars three youngsters and has TV stars Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally supporting. The studio’s hoping for its Stand By Me-esque story to build momentum with a May 31 limited release. “It’s a movie about discovering in general — which people who see arthouse films spark to,” a studio insider tells me. “And discovery is part of what makes a sleeper hit”. CBS Films is hoping it becomes this year’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen which was a surprise success for the studio last year.
– Upstart distrib A24 is new to the summer game and has two more youth-skewing pics on tap after scoring a minor youthquake with the sexploitation Spring Breakers in March. The first is Sofia Coppola’s Bling Ring will get a NY-LA limited opening June 14 two weeks after its Cannes premiere.
BREAKING: Another Sundance deal as A24 acquires The Spectacular Now, a coming-of-age saga that stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Miles Teller and premiered Friday in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Deals are also imminent on Concussion, as well as Austenland, the latter of which has FilmDistrict, looking to partner with Exclusive, as the lead horse going into Sunday night. The deal should have been done already but was held up because Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer, who produced the film, couldn’t take part because she is Mormon and so they won’t close the deal officially until Monday.
James Ponsoldt directed Spectacular from a script by (500) Days Of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Teller plays a high school senior extrovert who vows to save an introverted classmate (Woodley), and their relationship grows intense. Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kyle Chandler also star. Deal was done by UTA. Here’s the official announcement: